State Board Report

November 2010

NASBA will be awarding up to $25,000 for accounting education research, Education Committee Chair Mark Harris announced at the Annual Meeting. He reported the grant program, which may cover a maximum of three projects, was approved by the NASBA Board of Directors at their October meeting. Details are to be announced this month. He announced the award program prior to introducing Professor Bruce Behn, chairman of the AAA/AICPA Pathways Commission, who observed that budget cuts to the schools are resulting in more challenges for educators.

Professor Behn said the first official Pathways Commission meeting had been held October 15‐17 in Washington, DC. The Commission was formed in response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession’s recommendation that a study be done on “the possible future structure of higher education for the accounting profession.” The Pathways Commission’s next public meeting will be held on February 26 in Atlanta. The group has divided their work into two phases, the first, to be completed by November 2011, will identify the issues to be tackled and how they are to be approached, and the second will start in December 2011 to find funding and to implement the recommendations. There will be three “supply chains” feeding into the Pathways Commission and NASBA will be represented by Melanie Thompson (TX) on one of them. He encouraged input to the Commission through its Web site http://pathwayscommission.org.

Professor Kevin D. Stocks, president of the American Accounting Association, gave the NASBA Annual Meeting an overview of the AAA’s activities. Its membership is holding steady with approximately 8,300 members, of which some 25 percent are located outside of the United States. “Strategic planning to integrate with practice is essential,” Professor Stocks said. Among their projects is digitizing the AAA library to make it available to the public, reviewing their Bylaws after 30 years, and working to enhance the visibility of accounting research on all levels. One of the big issues being discussed by the educators is: “IFRS vs. U.S. GAAP = What do we teach?” Are more than the basics required? The educators are also looking at international education standards for entry into the profession that do not agree with U.S. education standards for entry into the profession. The international model is closer to apprenticeship. Educators are also questioning if they should be teaching skills or knowledge. Professor Stocks also pointed out that the pay differential between graduates with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s in accounting is just $2,000. He encouraged the State Board members to get involved with their universities, and to let the universities become involved with the Boards.

The non‐traditional learner is now the norm, Gabi Zolla, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s (CAEL) vice president – policy and programs, told the meeting. Today 45 percent of postsecondary students are between the ages of 25 and 44, she stated. CAEL helps non‐traditional students put together portfolios of their experience for accreditation. They are partnering with the American Council on Education to do military training assessment. Ms. Zolla said adult learners need guidance, a jumpstart and support in getting to their career goals.

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